Echoes From the Campfire

Time has a way of going on…  It takes away the old things we been used to.  We can’t hold them forever.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (Barbed Wire)

    “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings…”
              –Hebrews 13:8-9 (HCSB)
Life does not give us any guarantees and it continues on.  With it comes changes, just as seasons bring changes to nature around it, so does life.  Life also brings changes that are brought on by many.  As man continues to bow to the technological, altar changes will continue to take place.  Now, don’t get me wrong, some of these changes are good, some of them will lead a person down the road to perdition.  Some changes we can’t avoid.  I looked in the mirror the other day and that once, ahem, beautiful face of mine has some furrows in it, and my goodness that moustache even shows some gray.  Hmmm, might be best if I avoid a mirror in the future.
    However, no matter what comes, no matter what season of life, no matter what new thing that man concocts one thing for sure is that Jesus never changes and His Word is forever.  Read the following note written by a captive Union prisoner in a warehouse in Richmond during the Civil War.

         Many around the room are reading the Book of God, recalling a Mother’s tender teaching or a father’s revered example in a bygone lapse of years.  Others are pacing up and down in silent thoughts; whilst all respect the sacred day and its sacred, solemn duties.  As the hours pass on, quiet conversation and warm intercommunion of sympathies and future friendship occupy our little band until the evening meal.  At seven o’clock we assemble for divine worship…  Silently and reverently, we listen to God’s holy Word from the lips of our estimable chaplain, Rev. John W. Mines of Bath, Main [who says], “We want you to place your souls in the hand of the Almighty God…”
         The evening closes quietly; and as the officer of the day commands, “Lights out!”  We retire to our straw beds, fully trusting in our God, that he will soon restore us to our beloved ones. (Terry Tuley, Battlefields & Blessings)

No matter the circumstances, such as these men held as prisoners, they have the Word of God to turn to.  In their depression and melancholy they have the Word to lift their spirits.  There is hope, maybe not in deliverance from their captivity, but in the power of His might.
    The voices around may entice us to capitulate.  Then you can be released from the horrible prison you find yourself in.  Compromise is the answer.  No!  Hold tight to the truth, the one thing that will never, ever change.  When you hear people say they have another truth, or say that truth is only what you feel, then reach out and grasp tighter to the never-changing hand of Jesus.
Today in the Texas Revolution:  Juan Seguin and his relief forces encounter the Goliad advance while waiting on Cibolo Creek.  Seguin is informed that Fannin was en route to relieve the Alamo defenders and should only be about two days away.

Echoes From the Campfire

The things we can do for ourselves, we ought to do without holdin’ out a tin cup.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Time It Never Rained)

    “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is make perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
              –2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
Is Christ all-sufficient?  I wonder as we hear so many whine and cry for attention and for people to put a dime, oops I mean a twenty dollar bill in their cup.  They don’t even want to hear the sound of the coin ringing in the cup; they just want.  People want grades, they want free tuition, they want pay without work, they want a new car, new house, new boat, they want, want, want.
    Terry Tuley, in his book, has a piece written by a wounded Confederate soldier after a battle.  It does not say what battle, and it isn’t politically correct in our modern and enlightened age (new term for revisionist stupidity) to speak of the Confederacy, but here it is.  Take it to heart and see if Christ is sufficient.

         I asked God for strength that I might achieve,
         I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
         I asked for health that I might do great things,
         I was given infirmity that I might do better things,
         I asked for riches that I might be happy,
         I was given poverty that I might be wise.
         I asked for power that I might have the praise of men,
         I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
         I asked for all things that I might enjoy life,
         I was given life that I might enjoy all things,
         I got nothing that I asked for but everything that I had hoped for.
         Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
         I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

We are to grow in grace.  That means there is a process, because it is a growth.  Things do not always happen the way we want or plan.  Our dreams may turn out to be a nightmare.  We often ask our heavenly Father for things that are not to our spiritual benefit in the largest scope of things.  Ah, but God in His wonderful, marvelous, gracious wisdom imparts to us what we need.
This day in the Texas Revolution:  General Jose de Urrea defeats a small band of Texans at the Battle of San Patricio.

The Saga of Miles Forrest

I hadn’t been able to pinpoint where they were, but I knew in my gut that sooner or later they would show up.  Clem had informed me that there were more men waiting to get me.
    “Hello the camp!” came a yell from the trees beyond my sight.  “Can we come in?”
    At least they were observing camp courtesy.  It would have been smarter for them to come blasting in.  “Sure come on in, but be sure I can see your hands.”
    Three men rode in, hands in sight like I ordered.  I was standing off to the back and off to one side of the fire.  I had my coat on and a blanket draped around me, my gun out of sight under the blanket.  I was holding the Greener in my left hand.
    “Cold night,” remarked one of the men.  “Mind if we dismount and warm ourselves?”
    “Go ahead,” I replied.  Only three, I just had the feeling there were at least four, maybe five.  I wasn’t comfortable in the situation, but it was what I had so I’d play it out.
    “Ahhh, coffee,” spoke up another in anticipation.  “Any left?”
    “Should be,” I uttered.  “You’ll need your own cup.”
    “Fine, fine, I’ll get it from my bag.”
    The other two men moved closer to the fire.  “Just be sure all you come back with is a cup,” I warned.
    Stooping down by the fire the man who spoke up first started in again.  “You don’t seem to be a very trusting soul.”
    “Nope.  Three men out in the cold, just wanderin’ about.  Reckon it just doesn’t look right, so you’re right, I’m not very trustin’.”
    The man had come back with his cup and handed it toward me.  “Mind pouring me a cup?”
    “Yep,” I said.  “Don’t see where your arm’s broke or any maimed fingers.”
    “Okay, no problem,” he said reaching for the coffeepot.
    “He’s not a very courteous man,” spoke up the one who had been speaking.  “In fact, he’s been quite rude.”
    “Good coffee,” said the man after taking a sip.
    “Mind if we stay the night in the camp?” asked the man as he put his hands over the fire to warm them.  I could see all their hands now with the flames flickering upward.  
    “That’s no way for a civilized person to treat his fellow man.”
    “Never been called ‘civilized,'” I replied.  “There’s plenty of country out there, plenty of wood available and as you don’t seem to like my company…”
    The lead man continued to talk.  “You’re worth quite a bit of money to us,” he stopped and glanced at Molly.  I didn’t know there would be a bonus in it for us.  Merker didn’t say anything about a woman.”
    He started to rise and I threw myself to ground, firing as I went down.  I felt the bullet graze the back of my neck.  My first bullet caught the man who was still stooped at the fire; the one who hadn’t said anything.  It hit him and he fell back against the man standing knocking him off balance.  My second shot caught the standing man along with my third.  Then I started crawling as fast as I could toward the darkness.  After I hovered down in the brush I glanced back and saw that Molly had shot the other man with the rifle she had with her.  I had to find that fourth man.
    The man that Molly shot was on the ground groaning.  “Ring, help me.”
    “Forrest!” came a voice from the darkness.  “Throw out your gun!  I have the woman in my gunsights!”
    I didn’t answer.  I was trying to get a bead on the voice.  
    “I won’t say it again!  I’ll shoot her!”
    I holstered my pistol and cocked both barrels on the shotgun.  Taking a deep breath, I sighed, stood up slowly then let out a howl like I’d heard those southern boys use during the war.  I charged toward the sound and let lose with both barrels…
Today in the Texas Revolution:  Fannin attempts his relief march to the Alamo but turns back.  R.M. Williamson arrives in Gonzales to help organize Alamo relief forces there.

Echoes From the Campfire

A man has to make his try, and when that didn’t work he had to try something else.  Try and keep trying.  Endure, and try again.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Time It Never Rained)

    “Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”
              –Romans 13:11 (HCSB)
One of the most important things we can do is be honest before the Lord.  Why people try to hide things from the Lord is beyond me.  There is that one luminous word–omniscience.  God knows everything.  A sinner might even try to use it for an excuse.  “Well, the Lord knows my heart,” he might say.  That is surely true, even the things hidden in the heart.  Even when the heart doesn’t even know itself.
This week we take a look at the first part of Psalm 17 (HCSB).

         1  Lord, hear a just cause; pay attention to my cry; listen to my prayer—from lips free of deceit.
         2  Let my vindication come from You, for You see what is right.
         3  You have tested my heart; You have examined me at night.  You have tried me and found nothing evil; I have determined that my mouth will not sin.
         4  Concerning what people do:  by the word of Your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
         5  My steps are on Your paths; my feet have not slipped.
         6  I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say.
         7  Display the wonders of Your faithful love, Savior of all who seek refuge from those who rebel against Your right hand.
         8  Protect me as the pupil of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.

We worry about things that we cannot see; about those who reside over the mountain and we hear they are coming to get us.  David proclaims that God is our protector.  If so, why don’t we let Him protect us?  W. Graham Scroggie said, “He who is heard, held, and hidden by the Lord need not fear the fiercest foe.”  Worry, worry, worry, and what does it get us?  Ulcers, high blood pressure, fitful nights with poor sleep, unrest, unsettlement.
    I remember back in the winter of 1971.  I was recently married and two things loomed ahead of me going into 1972:  graduation and the draft.  Vietnam was still raging in 1972, the last large year, of course we did’t know it at the time.  Annie and I talked and I went down and enlisted in the Air Force in February of that year and would be heading to basic training right after graduation.  I had been taught that I could trust in the Lord to take care of me.  If He couldn’t take care of me in Vietnam, He couldn’t take care of me crossing the street in the good ol’ USA.
    It is important, however, that we stay on His paths.  That we walk according to His will.  He will not slumber and He will order our steps.  God desires one thing from us–total commitment.  He does not expect perfection for He knows our heart, and our inclination, but He does want obedience to His Word.  I did not have to have a tour of duty in Vietnam, I was fortunate, but it was all in God’s hands.

              “Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth;
               Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
               Hast thou not seen how thy desire e’er have been
               Granted in what he ordaineth?”
                         –Joachim Neander
Today in the Texas Revolution:  Fannin, commander at Goliad, receives Travis’ plea for help.